Program Air Date - 5-5-02



Thank you for joining us for the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God. We welcome you to this service for our Creator. Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. This morning we will glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's begin our praise to God in prayer.


There is no greater love in this world that the Lord which we have from Jesus Christ our Lord. This morning we want to begin our songs of praise with a hymn which reminds us of this greatest love of all. So, won't you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing together, "In Vain in High and Holy Lays."

(SONG # 1)


We often hear the word contentment used, in relationship to religious things! In fact, the Bible often talks about contentment as a requirement of a faithful child of God. However, I think we sometimes get physical contentment confused with spiritual. Yes, in the book of Philippians, Paul said that we should learn to be content in whatever state we are, but he was referring to the physical. So, can we ever become too content spiritually?

If we look around in the religious world today we find that many have confused this concept of contentment with the spiritual. Many try to convince us that there is no reason to grow or improve because we must be content with who we are and where we are spiritually. Actually, just the opposite is true when it comes to religious things.

In Philippians 3:12-14 we read, "not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Notice what Paul says here! He says he had not yet laid hold on perfection and non of us have either.

How many today would hold themselves equally up to the faith of Paul. What a great man of God he was. However, it is this great man of God which said he was still reaching for that goal, that perfection.

As Christians, it is important that we remember that being a good follower of God is a daily process that we must work at. Satan is around tempting us and trying to get us to fall from the grace of God, but if we are continually growing we will be able to withstand the evils of this world better. You see, when we grow and mature in the faith, we also grow closer to God and when He is on our side, who can be successful against us, Romans 8:31.

In fact, isn't everything in life a growing process? When we learn to walk, and talk, doesn't it take time. Or when we learn to ride a bike or play sports, again, it doesn't happen overnight. Think about that first time you went to an amusement park? You start out on the kiddy rides but eventually you move up to the big ones - like the roller coasters. Everything in life is a process to improve ourselves; to help us better accept and deal with the things of tomorrow. However, we must also realize that true perfection was only found in one man, Jesus Christ, but we all can strive for it, and give Him our best! As Paul also said, yesterday is a foundation that we are building on, but we must move forward toward tomorrow, forgetting the past to put all our energies on making today and tomorrow the best they can be.

This morning we will again consider a lesson from our series on "The Christian Home." Our specific topic of study today will deal with "Christian Parents!" So please stay with us through our next song and after that I will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Jesus Is All The World To Me."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now have an opportunity to again look at the topic of the Christian home. So far, we've been able to look at the home as God intended it. We've been able to find out how we all fit into the home. We've actually looked now at lessons specifically at the duties of husbands and wives, and also now we want to look at the duty of parents, this morning.

A very, very important topic because one of the most important aspects of being a husband and wife when we begin to build a home and have children, is that we are proper parents before God. As you and I know, who have children, being a parent is no easy task. It's not an easy job for anyone. In fact, I like the way that one writer put it. He said, "The trouble with being a parent is that by the time that you're experienced in being a parent, you're already retired from being a parent." And that's about the truth. It seems like it's a learning process all the way through and then by the time we just start figuring out maybe what we should do and know what we should do, then we've already raised our children and they are out of the home. Then we try to share that with others and sometimes they have to learn for themselves. Don't they? But the fact is as people of God we need to learn to be good, godly and Christian parents.

I think we need to start at the very beginning when we talk about parenting because as we talk about parenting we are talking about that which is important because it is based on the greatest foundation of all and that's love. Over all things in this world and spiritual matters, we're told that love is the greatest because love is at the heart of all things. Basically, our lesson this morning will deal with those things that show love.

Just recently, in fact it's just been about 4 or 5 months ago, we had a new little baby boy and there is nothing more precious than a new child that we are blessed with or that any family is blessed with. When you look at that new child and you see that that child is really from your bones and flesh of your flesh as even Adam talked about in the book of Genesis, it's not hard to love that child or to really have feelings for something that you yourself have been involved in creating or bringing forth out of nothing, so to speak, as God has initiated these things in this world and this life so that we might bring forth and reproduce after our own kind. So how wondrous and precious it is and when we look at that little boy or that little girl who is growing up and learning and copying things that mommy and daddy do and in many ways look like mommy and daddy and remind you of what you were like when you were young and so on and so forth. Again, these are such wondrous and precious things to us and it's not difficult to love a child especially under that condition if we truly realize how awesome they are as a wondrous gift and a special unique creation of God that is really given to bless us and to make our life more happy and to give us the opportunity to use our skills for God and actually share the love of God with those who are around us, especially as in our lesson this morning, that great family situation, that great home that God intended for all men to be a part of.

But as love is being discussed as the heart of parenting, at the heart of showing that child how much you love them or care about them or will protect them or what extent you'll go to do and to give them all that they need and have need of. As we talk about that love, let's look now at some aspects that really are clarified in scripture that demonstrate that love. In fact, similar aspects that even God to His children, that is us as Christians, God to His children also demonstrates His love toward us in the very same ways and fashion.

First of all, parents must love their children enough to be good leaders, to be those who set an example first. I don't know how many times in my life even though I am still fairly young, I feel, and how many times probably in your life that you've talked with individuals before who maybe don't like something that their children do or maybe something that they try or something that they are involved in, but then yet you look at their lives and you see that the reason that the child tried smoking or drinking or maybe some other social ills that really are not good for a Christian to be involved in. It's simply because you yourself first are involved in such. Kind of the old saying that "Well, son, do what I say and not what I do." Well the fact is that when you are giving an example, that is much more powerful than words. When a child sees you participating in different habits and then it grows up to have the same habits and traits in their life, it's not an accident. It's because you, you as a husband or you as a wife, have done things that have really instilled in that child certain things and that many times rubs off so to speak on them.

Well, if you'll look in the book of Ephesians chapter 6, we see there that several verses there at the beginning deal with how that we must train our children. In fact, there in verse 1, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with promise that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth." And then verse 4 says, "And you fathers do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." There we see it. We see the duties of children that we'll look at next week more specifically. But then, we see the duties of parents, of fathers and mothers, and not provoking their children or doing things that will cause them to be angered or to come about as having wrath in their lives or maybe handling themselves or saying things or doing things that are incorrect because of what we have done. That's exactly what we're talking about. Love enough to be a leader to show by example, good and wholesome and honest and wondrous things in your life so that when your child imitates the things that you do, then you're proud to know just as Paul said, "Imitate me because I'm an imitator of Christ." Well, shouldn't we have that same thought about our children? Son, daughter, do what I do because when you imitate that then you're going to be imitating something that is approved of in the sight of God.

But I also love, as he says there that "parents must go on to train them." Train them in what? To bring them up in a good way according to what? The Lord. In admonition and an encouraging way according to God. Well, this is nothing new under the sun as Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, even indicated because in Proverbs chapter 22 and verse 6, he mentions there to "train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

I know many brethren that I know and many friends even that have children who maybe have fallen away even at times, as they get older, from the church and then later in life come back to God. Well, I think that's what the writer here is talking about. If you train a child and bring them up right, they'll stay in the Lord. And yes, they're going to have bumps and they're going to have rocky places in the road, but if they have seen your leadership and you have brought them up right, then and only then will we find that in the end if God wills and the time permits, they will be able to again follow and serve their God as they should.

If we are in the faith, our children will be in the faith. If we are those who love God, our children will learn to love God. And if we are those who are leaders, our children will learn to be good, godly leaders.

But love also demonstrates the concept of instruction. We can't just expect our children to learn and to be raised possibly by the church, to be raised or possibly brought up by the school that we send them to. We must understand that ultimately that responsibility falls back on the parents. We are required to bring them up as we teach them, "Don't touch that stove," "Don't play with that razor," "Don't do this," or "Don't do that," "Don't go out into the street," "Be careful around cars," and on and on we could go. We teach our child be everything that we tell them, by everything that we show in our actions, by every word that we say. But again, the question is are we instructing them in all things as we should? It starts in the home and at the home with the parents. How to eat right. When to play. When to be serious. How to act in church. Or how to play in church. Again, all of these things are those things that God has asked us to bring our children up in.

And again, as I showed a moment ago in relationship to our first point of leadership, even the greatest man Solomon understood this and taught about it much earlier. Again, this is something that was told of the Israelites even back in Deuteronomy and the chapter in Deuteronomy, chapter 6. If you'll turn there, we want to look at just a few verses back in Deuteronomy. We don't have time to look at all of these but if you will look at them with me in just a little bit of a way especially verses 6 and 7. I want you to notice what is said there. "And these words which I have commanded you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit down in your house and when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be frontlets between your eyes." Now if you'll notice again the idea is clear. It's clear that we must train our children in what? The ways they should go. And primarily here it is talking about the judgments and statutes of the Lord. So again, we must be leaders, but we must instruct them in the ways that they should live in this life to be perceived in this life to be good, godly people as well as in God Himself. That's what it was talking about in the admonition of the Lord, in the teachings and instruction of the Lord there, again in Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 4. We should bring them up in God, knowing God, following God. But at the same time, we should have them clearly know what they should do and how they should act and how they should respond to the world that they actually live in and the things that they will come in contact with everyday. So the love is demonstrated in leadership and instruction.

And a parent's love is also demonstrated in discipline. There are several verses again throughout the Bible that deal with this and again it's not something that is only in the New Testament. Even again that wise man, Solomon, understood this. I want to go to the book of Proverbs again and look at just a few verses because I think he says it very well primarily in Proverbs 23 in verses 12 through 14 it says the following, "Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to the words of knowledge. Do not withhold correction from a child for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod and deliver his soul from hell." Sometimes as we look at the terminology's that were used then and the concepts here, we're not talking about an abuse here. We're talking about a discipline that we instruct even if it need be with a spanking or a whipping, so to speak. In some way to again show a child that this is wrong and you've been told not to do it and when you do it, you have consequences. Again, I might ask you is it any different in the service of God? When we are told that this is wrong and we do it, are there not consequences? Are we not disciplined by God. Well certainly we are and certainly they were throughout the Bible times.

Again, in Proverbs chapter 29, notice what it says there in verse 15. "The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." Here again, if we spare the rod, he says, we spoil the child. We cause someone to be brought forth and to be raised up who really has no concepts or ideas, one who as we read earlier, will depart from the way if they are not disciplined as they should be. Again, we're not talking about an abuse, a discipline as far as beating or leaving marks. We're talking about spanking or a discipline that requires again that which is necessary to bring a child around to what he or she should and should not do. You see, this is again Biblical. It's something that God has asked us to do. When we say, "No", mean it and back it up. When we say, "Look, if you do that, here's the results." Mean it and follow through. I think that's one of the biggest problems we have as parents today and in the lack of discipline and respect that we se from our children, not only against us but in the schools and in the world as we're in restaurants or anywhere, how children are so disobedient and disrespectful as they are in these situations. And the reason again is because of the parents. We need to mean what we say and say what we mean and when we know that it has to be backed up with something, back it up. Ground them. Discipline them. Spank them. Whatever it takes. Teach your children. Bring them up in the admonition of the Lord and show them, show them that these are the things of God.

But in the most, as we talk about discipline again, let me reemphasize the fact that discipline must be controlled. Discipline is always been done even by God upon His children in love. We discipline because we care for our child and that we want him to be brought up right not as the Proverb writer said in 22 and 15. "Because foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." We've got to be careful that that rod is used properly, that that little paddle or whatever we might use, that little switch, is used properly and correctly and not to drive them away, but to again bring them around to where they need to be, not "provoking our children" as it says in Ephesians chapter 6. Not doing something that brings them to wrath or anger that is wrong or un-Christlike and ungodly, but again doing that which is right in the eyes of God. But again, I hear people, "But I can't force little Johnny or little Suzy to do this or that." Why not? You're the parent. "I cannot make them," or "I cannot..." Let me tell you , if you start using discipline as you should and taking away privileges and spanking or spatting when you need to and if you'll start trying these things according to the will of God, you'll find out that yes, they will listen when you say what you mean and you mean what you say and they know that the results of not listening will bear consequences, consequences that are real and that are there.

I want you to read with me something that is very, very beautiful, I think, a little poem I found. It says that "If a child lives in criticism, then he learns what? To condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight. If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive. If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself. If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilt. If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to feel confident. If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient. If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative. If a child learns to accept, he learns to love. If a child learns to live with approval, he also learns to like himself. If a child lives with recognition, he learns that it is good to have goals and to work in this life."

You see again, the fact is as parents, what we do our children will do. If we learn as godly parents to lead, instruct, to discipline and to do all that just as God has done to His people and His church and to bring our children up according to what God has said, to be good, healthy parts of society, as well as good spiritual, wholesome parts in religion, then we have done our job. And when we find that what we have done is in good results, it will be because we ourselves have lived that way and shown the example and lived the life and walked the walk and talked the talk. That's what God wants of each and every one of us as parents, to bring our children up in the admonition of the Lord, to bring our children up in such a way that God will truly know that we are His followers and that they will be, too.

(SONG # 3 - "Take Time To Be Holy!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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May we all as Christians parents do all we can to treat our children right and to bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

(Program closing)